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Rest is a Weapon

In my opinion, the most overlooked aspect of a training program is rest and recovery. I’ve never been a fan of the “go hard or go home” approach. Working hard is extremely important. In fact, it’s a necessity. But, there’s a time and a place to work hard, and there’s a time and place to recover.

My mindset hinges on listening to the athletes and their bodies. How they feel on a daily basis should have an impact on how you train them that day. Just like any day in any given job, not every day is a good one. Any sort of excessive sympathetic neural activity can hinder an athlete and their performance substantially. Some factors that can cause excessive sympathetic neural activity include:

Stress

Lack of Sleep

Poor Nutrition/Hydration

Poor Training Schedule

...and so forth.

More trainers and their clients can benefit from a basic understanding of the Autonomic Nervous System and how it works.

Let’s break this down:

It’s divided into 2 subcategories: The sympathetic and parasympathetic subdivisions. Think of it like a car. The sympathetic is the gas pedal. The parasympathetic is the brake. They work synergistically to get you to your desired location. And you don’t even need to use the Google Maps app.

Within your body, the sympathetic kicks in when any sort of stress hits your body. Think lifting weights, running, seeing your gym crush, sprinting from bears, stuff of that nature. The parasympathetic is where all the adaptive responses occur. Think of maintaining homeostasis. Bringing your heart rate back to normal, lowering your cortisol levels and a bunch of other sciencey lingo that you can read in thick fancy textbooks.

Got it?

So what happens when a person becomes overly-driven in their sympathetic system?

Well, what happens when you put your car in park and “put the pedal to the metal” for extended periods of time?

A few things:

Absorption of nutrients from food will be limited. Very little adaptive response will occur from training. Cortisol levels will be elevated, which can hinder sleep and may also store fat. The anabolic environment will be low which isn’t conducive to building muscle, and the catabolic environment will be high.

All that HIIT work you’re doing everyday because your trainer said it’s the best thing ever? That might not be helping.

So what’s the ideal way to recover?

Here’s the tricky part...It depends!!! (Coincidentally enough, like everything else in the fitness industry)

Ask yourself this: What do you like? What calms you down? The good news is you have several options.

Since there’s no one around to volunteer, let’s just use me as an example. If you’ve met me, you may have caught onto the fact that there are 7 hamsters running around in my head, all in different directions. They don’t even have a wheel to keep themselves in check. Ever been to a hamster rave? Welcome to my head at 7:24am on a Tuesday.

Personally, yoga has never calmed me down. I am, without a doubt, in the minority of people that it doesn’t work for. The same goes for pilates. I experimented listening to classical music while lying on the floor doing some diaphragmatic breathing. Same result.

The hamsters just keep running. And I don’t even like cardio.

Little bastards.

I recently went to Float YXE to try out their sensory deprivation tanks, in hopes of slowing down my brain. If you’ve never heard of a float tank, the concept is simple.

You float naked. In the dark. In Epsom salt water. Just you and your thoughts.

Sounds weird but compared to other stuff I’ve done…it’s really not. The water is skin temperature so it’s quite warm. In terms of the actual floating, it’s buoyant enough in there that you couldn’t flip yourself over if you tried. Translation…you won’t drown, and you’ll be warm. All sensory inputs are also minimized (no noise, light, or distractions).

I wasn’t sure what to expect but knew there was quite a bit of research to back up their claims of what the tanks could do for recovery…so I was intrigued.

For the first time in as long as I can remember the hamsters stopped running. All of them. All at the same time.

Dreams really do come true.

I was in complete relaxation for the next few hours. And in fact, I noticed the results up to 3 days later.

Mind. Blown.

If you have trouble slowing your mind down, or just want to try something new…give the sensory deprivation tanks a try.

They may or may not be for you. You never know until you try. Life’s like a box of chocolates, right?

The point of this blog post is to find something that helps you relax. Something that lets you shut off from the rest of the world for an hour or two every week. If you’re having trouble losing weight or gaining muscle mass, less may be more. Turn off the sympathetic system and allow yourself to recover.

Hey, if all else fails, at least you can cross off the “being naked in public” box. Cheers. 

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Hockey Season is Over...Now What?

For many of you, your son or daughter has already finished or is just finishing up their hockey season. This year I’ve had a lot of questions about what they should do after the season is done. This blog post is meant to be educational — one to show the downfalls of hopping right back onto the ice. I’ll also talk about how we do things at JB and why we execute them in that manner.

Early specialization in youth sports has become the norm for families these days. Right after the season, parents usually enroll their son or daughter in Spring and Summer hockey. Late July and early August roll around and it’s time to put them in a few hockey camps. Heck of a summer wasn’t it? Time for tryouts!

If this sounds like you, here is the most recent data on injury rates for youth athletes that play one sport all year round:

In a study of 1200 youth athletes, Dr. Neeru Jayanthi of Loyola University found that early specialization in a single sport is one of the strongest predictors of injuries. Athletes in the study who specialized were 70-93% more likely to be injured than children who played multiple sports.[i]

Those numbers are staggering and quite frankly, disheartening. As an athlete you only have one body. If you’re injured all the time you’re a liability to your team. Or worse…you’re not an athlete anymore.

If one study isn’t enough to convince you I’ve referenced five more here.([ii])([iii])([iv])([v])([vi]) If you don’t want to read these here is a quick summary of what they say:

·         Early specialization has little to no benefit for elite level athletes

·         Early specialization has shown a substantial increase in the likelihood of injuries happening

·         Early specialization has shown to have a high burn out rate of youth

·         Athletes that play multiple sports seem to excel at the highest levels

We need to start looking at what the research says when it comes to youth sports. Or anything for that matter. People tend to ignore things they don’t want to hear regardless of what the research says. Don’t believe me? Ask Jenny McCarthy about vaccines and Autism (spoiler alert: she’s wrong).

We pride ourselves in taking a scientific approach to our training. This is the reason why we have our athletes OFF the ice until July (and yes, that includes our NHL’ers). This is why we’re not a fan of Spring or Summer hockey. This is why we want kids to play as many sports as possible at a young age.

Here is what we recommend to parents for their son or daughter:

·         Ages 12 and under- Minimum of 3 sports that create a different stimulus for their muscles. Minimum 3 months off completely from each sport.

·         Ages 13-15 - 2-3 different sports. Minimum 3 months off completely from each sport.

·         Ages 16+ - 1-2 different sports. Minimum 2 months off completely from each sport.

These are just our recommendations and DO NOT include skill work. If you play hockey and want to work on your shooting and/or stickhandling (without skating), go for it. If you play basketball and want to shoot free-throws (without sprinting and jumping all day), go hard.

If something hurts, you’re either doing it wrong or doing too much of it.

We wholeheartedly believe in putting the athlete first. This philosophy has undoubtedly lost us some business. Parents and kids don’t like to be told they shouldn’t play one sport all year round. Allowing their body to fully recover, getting them stronger, and teaching them to move better will somehow put them behind the development of other players. Go figure.

Society is telling us that more is always better. Funny how society seems to get it wrong a lot of the time (i.e. detox diets, juice cleanses, toning, women who lift weights will turn into the Hulk’s twin sister…I could go on for days, as most of you probably know) So with regards to youth athlete development, research and science are telling us that this more=better mindset needs to be changed.

Choose whatever side you want, but just make sure you understand the ‘cost of doing business’ if you choose the former. And realize that cost may be your athletic career.

 

[i] Myer, G.D, Jayanthi, N. (2015). Sport Specialization, Part I: Does Early Sports Specialization Increase Negative Outcomes and Reduce the Opportunity for Success in Young Athletes? Sports Health 437-42

 

[ii] Feeley, B.T (2016). When is it Too Early For Single Sport Specialization? Am J Sports Med 234-41

 

[iii] Nyland, J (2014). Coming to Terms with Early Sports Specialization and Athletic Injuries. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 389-90

 

[iv] Hall, R (2015). Sport specialization's association with an increased risk of developing anterior knee pain in adolescent female athletes. J Sport Rehabil 31-35

 

[v] Jayanthi, N (2013). Sports specialization in young athletes: evidence-based recommendations. Sports Health 251-57

 

[vi] Malina, RM (2010). Early Sport Specialization: Roots, , Effectiveness, Risk. Curr Sports Med Rep 364-71

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The Scoop on Supplements

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The Scoop on Supplements

Today's blog is a guest  post from Alison Friesen. She's a fantastic Registered Dietician that works with numerous high level athletes. Below are her thoughts on supplements. If you want more information you can visit her website http://www.alisonfriesennutrition.com/

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Ball Hockey- The Great Compromise

I’m slowly starting to realize that more and more parents are hell-bent on having their son or daughter play hockey year-round. I have written about how early specialization in sport is an epidemic in the making. Rather than rehash that article, I’ll give you the take-home notes from it.

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Does Lifting Weights Make You A Better Athlete?

This may seem like a ridiculous question to ask. Most people would say unequivocally that lifting weights will make you a better athlete. But is that always the case? This post takes a look at this seemingly simple question, and the answer may surprise you.

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4 Myths That Need to Stop- Part 2

In Part 1 of this series Batman destroyed the myth that 12-20 reps is how you tone a muscle. It is my understanding that since the post went viral The Toner can’t even get a job as head of security for Tracy Anderson. If you understand that joke we just became best friends. Cue the scene from “Step Brothers.” I also went over and referenced an article by Mike Robertson debunking the myth that high intensity interval training is all you need to do. If you haven’t read part 1, it’s pretty awesome (http://www.jbperformancetraining.com/blog/2014/11/18/4-myths-that-need-to-stop-part-1). Part 2 is dedicated to dissecting the concept of ‘muscle confusion’ and dispelling the myth that Pilates and yoga creates long lean muscles.

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Should Kids Lift Weights?

We work with a wide variety of athletes here at JB Performance. We’ve posted a few videos of Emma, our youngest client at 10 years of age doing squats and deadlifts. She’s a rock star when it comes to technique on both of those lifts. We also posted a video of one of our female athletes Jordyn deadlifting 270 pounds. She’s 14 years old and weighs 122 pounds. Needless to say she’s very strong. We had comments and questions from a few outsiders as to the merits and safety of kids lifting weights. I’ve been slacking on my blog posts so I thought this would be a great opportunity to give my opinion on whether or not kids should lift weights, and at what age they can start to do so.

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The Good and Bad of JB Performance

Now that a busy summer is winding down I thought this would be a good opportunity to review the good and bad of JB Performance. I strongly believe if you want to grow as a person and business you need to take an unbiased look into what your strengths and weaknesses are. Luckily for the 8 readers of my blog, you get an inside look at what we do well, what needs improvement, and where we just flat out suck.

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How to Get Smart and Who the 'Real Experts' Are

Josh and I are by no means experts in the strength and conditioning community. In saying that I do think we are on the right track by associating with the right people and by reading people who are smarter than ourselves. I’m not a fan of the word ‘guru’. I think if you want to be the best at something you need to be a lifelong student. You always need to educate yourself, be willing to change, and always keep an open mind. These are the best ways to continually grow in whatever profession you are involved in.

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The Importance of Cross Training

If you’re one of those crazy parents that has your son/daughter playing hockey or any other sport 82 months of the year you’re not going to like this blog post. But please keep reading as maybe this will inform you of the potential harm you may be putting your child in with regards to suffering an overuse (under-recovery as I like to call it) injury.

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Surround Yourself with Good People

If I’ve learned anything in the short time that JB Performance has been in operation, it’s that you need to surround yourself with good people. I have no idea where we’d be if it wasn’t for a few people who have mentored us in so many aspects along the way. I’d probably be stuck teaching a step class to 60 year old women somewhere. Despite having no rhythm and a terrible condition known as the “white boy dance syndrome.” This would not be a good thing for anyone.

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Who the Hell is JB Performance?

What a whirlwind 8 months it has been for JB Performance Training. There have been so many ups and downs I feel like a kid on a rollercoaster at Disneyland (despite never being there and having a slight fear of heights). The highs have included opening up a new 4000sq ft. facility to train our athletes, expanding our business, and as always the continued support we receive from our clients on a daily basis. We have the best clients/support team in the world. Yeah we’re a little biased but get over it!

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